Retired Bishop Joseph L. Imesch of Joliet, Ill., died Dec. 22 at Our Lady of the Angels retirement home in Joliet. He was 84.
The diocese said the cause of death was heart-related.
A funeral Mass was celebrated Dec. 29, followed by burial at Resurrection Cemetery in Romeoville.
The bishop retired in 2006 after serving the Joliet Diocese for more than 26 years.
On a national level, Bishop Imesch may be best known for leading the U.S. bishops’ nine-year effort to approve a pastoral letter on women’s concerns. He headed a writing committee for the pastoral from 1983 until 1992, when it failed to gain the required two-thirds majority from the bishops.
He told Catholic News Service at the time the bishops’ rejection of the pastoral was not unexpected. “The more I thought about it,” he said, “I realized our purpose was not to publish a pastoral letter but to raise the thoughts and concerns of women before the church. And we did that.”